GREENVILLE — The Darke County community embraced the beginning of the fall season with a Day of Harvest downtown and Prairie Days at Shawnee Prairie Nature Preserve over the weekend.
Sporadic rain and cooler temperature kept the attendance lower than it might have been at Main Street Greenville’s downtown event, but some hardy souls still kept the merchants at the Farmer’s Market and many downtown merchants busy as patrons made purchases to earn free pumpkins with every $25 spent.
Children eagerly awaited the Lead the Way Tractor cruise that included tractors large and small, old and new, on parade in support of the Darke County United Way.
After the tractors, a few children began to make their way down to the children’s craft and sidewalk chalk area, which mercifully saw the clouds break and sunshine peeking through as the day went on, but the autumn weather was a perfect accompaniment to the community chili cook-off.
A short drive just outside of town saw many area residents happily flocking to the popular Prairie Days, which continued Sunday afternoon.
Visitors followed a loop around Shawnee Prairie Nature Preserve that gave them the opportunity to try their hand at turning the crank on an old-fashioned cider press, and they were able to enjoy the “fruits” of their labor with a freshly pressed cup of cider.
Children lined up for a chance to dip their own candles as volunteers explained how pots of wax at different temperatures and the correct technique would allow them to make the perfect taper.
A pioneer encampment offered a peek at life in days gone by, with costumed volunteers tending to spits over open fires and stitching animal hides.
Tractors pulled visitors in wagon rides through the prairie, and a team of horses pulled visitors in wagons along the path when guests were ready to take a break from walking and just enjoy the sights and smells of the journey into history.
Guests enjoyed demonstrations of sorghum pressing, corn shredding, leather tanning, blacksmithing, baking, basket weaving and more. Many of the products made, including sorghum juice and bread were available for purchase at the General Store.
Players from the Civic Theatre performed on the stage, as well as folk singer and storyteller Joseph, and bluegrass musicians Berachah Valley and the Silver Grass Band.
Children were able to sit through a “class” at a pioneer school and participate in spelling bees, and create a variety of crafts from hats to lanterns.
The nature center hosted the Greenville Art Guild’s 40th annual art show and sale, which continues through Sept. 30.
Reach the writer at 937-569-4354 or on Twitter @RachelLloydGDA.